US flights and bikes

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
MrsHJ
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Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 11:58am

I’m just beginning my pricing up of flights to Washington DC and back from St Louis for my first part of the transam in May 2019.

Lots of reflection on best approach- get lift to Exeter (no hotel costs, no parking charges, longer, more expensive flights) v Bristol v Heathrow (pricey travel, probably an overnight hotel and adding in an extra 5 hours each way for travel and checkin).

Obviously there will be a spreadsheet involved to calculate total time and cost!

I was interested in airline recommendations- it looks like a mix (depending on route) of KLM, Air France, BA, delta, American, virgin and if anyone’s already done the bike price on a plane research that would be cool although I’m not too worried where I can see it on the airline page. I’m wondering if I go with Flybe from Exeter on an Air France ticket all the way to DC if I can be checked all the way through to DC with just my upfront cost bike cost to Flybe.
Last edited by MrsHJ on 2 Nov 2018, 12:26pm, edited 1 time in total.

irc
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby irc » 2 Nov 2018, 12:13pm

Not a direct answer but when I've flown Glasgow - Heathrow - USA with BA I paid 1 fee for the bike. As I was taking a second suitcase. Go with only a bike box and carry on bag then the bike goes free. This is in economy. With a ticket allowing 2 checked bags then the bike is free.

I would think if it is booked as 1 ticket it should be 1 bike fee but the transatlantic free not the UK - Europe first leg only fee.

Looking on Skyscanner Bristol - AMS - DC looks cheapest and at 11hrs fairly fast. Around £667 depending on dates.

I would make sure that the flights chosen are KLM flights though and not codeshare operated by a USA airline. Generally USA bike fees are far higher.

MrsHJ
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Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 12:28pm

irc wrote:Not a direct answer but when I've flown Glasgow - Heathrow - USA with BA I paid 1 fee for the bike. As I was taking a second suitcase. Go with only a bike box and carry on bag then the bike goes free. This is in economy. With a ticket allowing 2 checked bags then the bike is free.

I would think if it is booked as 1 ticket it should be 1 bike fee but the transatlantic free not the UK - Europe first leg only fee.

Looking on Skyscanner Bristol - AMS - DC looks cheapest and at 11hrs fairly fast. Around £667 depending on dates.

I would make sure that the flights chosen are KLM flights though and not codeshare operated by a USA airline. Generally USA bike fees are far higher.

That makes sense. I looked on Flybe’s page for codeshares for Exeter and they said you’d pay the airfrance rate which is €125 each way. Virgin looks pretty reasonable again flying with Flybe to Manchester on a code share.

It’s quite appealing only having to get the bike as far as the scanner at Exeter airport as the logistics are just so much easier (and cheaper) that I can afford more expensive flights. obviously that’s a total fail if I then have to lug the bike around CDG and or pay again for it there. I think I can also prebook the bike with eg Air France so avoiding the Flybe it may not travel with you condition. Highly unlikely to be a problem going to CDG or Schiphol in any case.

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 12:58pm

Now prepping my spreadsheet columns- once an accountant always an accountant. Quite tempted to overnight in Dublin actually for an easy flight the next day and the overall through flight cost is pretty reasonable and It would be cheaper and easier than a London overnight. Basically it’s Dublin, Paris or Manchester on the way out and then Schipol or Edinburgh on the way back.

Makes a note to check on the Brexit policies of various airlines. Hopefully they’ll all be in the air in May!

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and b

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 1:01pm

irc wrote:Not a direct answer but when I've flown Glasgow - Heathrow - USA with BA I paid 1 fee for the bike. As I was taking a second suitcase. Go with only a bike box and carry on bag then the bike goes free. This is in economy. With a ticket allowing 2 checked bags then the bike is free.

I would think if it is booked as 1 ticket it should be 1 bike fee but the transatlantic free not the UK - Europe first leg only fee.

Looking on Skyscanner Bristol - AMS - DC looks cheapest and at 11hrs fairly fast. Around £667 depending on dates.

I would make sure that the flights chosen are KLM flights though and not codeshare operated by a USA airline. Generally USA bike fees are far higher.


Ps Presumably the baggage went all the way straight through? Just had a thought that if I overnight in Dublin I might have to pay another set of bike fees for the next leg which would be expensive and annoying.

Forget overnighting in Dublin. It would be a nice way of making the journey and flights from Dublin usually do US immigration so it’s faster once in the US but the Atlantic flight is with United which is totally opaque about bike charges on its website other than that it will be excess luggage but when I look on the UK cycling helpful summary they say £200. So it looks like virgin could be the one via Manchester and a horribly early start (early starts will be a minus 10 on my spreadsheet I think).

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 1:37pm

Hmmm. I think another note is going to be re immigration as I think my baggage comes off where I first arrive in the USA. Then gets rechecked once through immigration so bike logistics to think about (and maybe extra bike fees on the next internal flight????) and of course time delays. So Dublin might be better (but not with United) or a direct flight to my destination from a larger UK airport. Hmmm lots of things to think about.

Woodtourer
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby Woodtourer » 2 Nov 2018, 8:45pm

MrsHJ. I have been following a bit of your plans. Not sure if you are aware be of the C&O Towpath closure around Brunswick, Maryland.

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Nov 2018, 9:06pm

Woodtourer wrote:MrsHJ. I have been following a bit of your plans. Not sure if you are aware be of the C&O Towpath closure around Brunswick, Maryland.


Thank you for your interest and information -I am vaguely aware that there have been some closures but haven’t worried too much about the detail yet as I’m six months out. Is there a good place to keep track of the closures? sometimes it’s unclear to me which part of the route comments are referring to.

From the city I’m actually going up the Washington and old dominion trail that leads into Leesburg and then cycling across to Brunswick to join the C&o there. Cycle.travel isn’t that keen on the path so I’m not on it all the time.

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/80366

Edit-I think this is the list, from the park service. So I need to plot the mile markers to figure it out but I’m hoping that they’ll have done some of the work by May when I’m there? https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 3 Nov 2018, 12:33pm

My initial conclusion on the fares is that the regional flight v a London flight comes out about the same over all (seriously pricey-about £1300 all in for flights, parking, bike costs, transport, overnight stays etc). This is for a couple of reasons- firstly I’m travelling by myself (well, I think I am- now that I’m talking about booking flights the family are paying attention and are tempted by a trip).

Secondly flying back from a regional airport in the USA limits the carriers I can use and adds costs. Of course there is the option of hiring a car on the way back to get to a big airport that has direct flights to the uk from a major carrier but that also adds a chunk of costs and time so broadly negating the benefits- my look at car rental shops suggests that it comes more out quite pricey for a car big enough to take the bike but I may do better investigating some discount codes or links to my employer scheme.

The bike fees are an interesting one- broadly the range is £130 return using either virgin or BA to £300 using United (holy smoly- they are the worst, delta is cheaper so if the times work they are a better option). The cheapest and most direct flights are, of course, using United. Virgin is the only UK carrier that’s flying to the USA and affordable from Exeter and they are essentially £100 more than using United who are linked in with Flybe (Exeter based). The flights with Virgin are ok but aren’t quite as convenient and either way if I fly back from a regional US airport I’m going to be picking up US level charges, not the UK ones at least one way.

Overall my conclusions are that if there are lots of you travelling (with or without bikes) your savings going to a big airport are going to be worth the car parking/hotel and extra up front travel costs. If there are a couple of you and you just want to rock up at your little local airport it is now pretty affordable to get to far flung places- the main issue will be whether the flight times are practical.

As a solo traveller my concousions are that the ease of going locally would be immense compared to getting boxed bikes up to heathrow and either paying out for transport or parking. I’m trying to reduce the number of off loads too when it’s just me and a biggish bag and a bike box- this needs to happen at immigration into the USA (so either the first place you land in the USA or in Dublin). On the way home I’m not sure if I’d be forced to unload at Amsterdam and reload (I’m assuming we’ll still,be in the customs union at that point) or whether it’s only passport checks that are the issue so I wouldn’t need to debag until Exeter.

simonhill
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby simonhill » 3 Nov 2018, 1:54pm

When I flew Virgin a few years ago, they gave you a bike for free on top of normal luggage allowance - sadly no more. Upgrading to Premium will give you a second bag - could that be a cheaper and maybe easier, option in the long run?

While thinking about 'creative' ways of doing this, have you thought about posting your luggage, then you only have your bike as check in?

Just out of interest, can I ask for how long you are going for?

Good luck.

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 3 Nov 2018, 8:14pm

simonhill wrote:When I flew Virgin a few years ago, they gave you a bike for free on top of normal luggage allowance - sadly no more. Upgrading to Premium will give you a second bag - could that be a cheaper and maybe easier, option in the long run?

While thinking about 'creative' ways of doing this, have you thought about posting your luggage, then you only have your bike as check in?

Just out of interest, can I ask for how long you are going for?

Good luck.


Unfortunately the upgrade looks like big money-I haven’t been collecting my avios points at all efficiently. I’ll look into posting-I’d love posting the bike actually!

4 weeks for the trip which should hopefully get me from DC to Clinton Missouri (the end of the KATY trail and just south of Kansas City and west of St Louis airport wise). If I have delays/weather/illness hopefully I’ll still make it to St Louis.

I’m thinking of doing segment 2 next September. That will take me from Clinton to Pueblo, Salida, mOntrose,and eventually Moab (thinking of flying back from Las Vegas for that one so I can look in on some of the other Utah parks and the Grand Canyon on the way to the airport and I expect that as a minimum him indoors will join for the last section of that one even if in an RV). Probably the following mid May to Mid June for Moab to SLC, Boise and finish in Portland, Oregon.

I should probably explain that this is my 50th birthday trip.

irc
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby irc » 4 Nov 2018, 4:22pm

It's a pity you can't get another week out it. That would get you across Colorado and close to a major airport at Denver. It would also mean it was possible to do the cross USA in two trips rather than 3 if that was desirable.

Checking the mileages on my 2011 Washington to San Francisco tour I hit the Mississippi just north of Kansas City on Day 25 and 1400 miles.

At Day 35 , 5 weeks I was near Pueblo, south of Denver with 2074 miles in. That's half standard Transam. Though I was doing the shorter Western Express Route west of Colorado.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7907

I followed a similar route to you as far as Pittsburg but went north a bit to Indiana to see relatives after that.

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 4 Nov 2018, 8:51pm

irc wrote:It's a pity you can't get another week out it. That would get you across Colorado and close to a major airport at Denver. It would also mean it was possible to do the cross USA in two trips rather than 3 if that was desirable.

Checking the mileages on my 2011 Washington to San Francisco tour I hit the Mississippi just north of Kansas City on Day 25 and 1400 miles.

At Day 35 , 5 weeks I was near Pueblo, south of Denver with 2074 miles in. That's half standard Transam. Though I was doing the shorter Western Express Route west of Colorado.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7907

I followed a similar route to you as far as Pittsburg but went north a bit to Indiana to see relatives after that.


Thank you for your link-I love reading transam journals so I’ll probably start reading it this evening. I’m going as far as Montrose on the western express ish route and then hooking up through Utah and Idaho.

I’m going to see what mileage I get in over the next few weeks and but I think I might be asking too much of me and the family to be away for any longer and I don’t want to be too ambitious and come unstuck. My original plan was to do 4 segments with pueblo being a stopping point and using Denver. One reason that may not be a great idea thoUgh is the altitude. This route means a gradual introduction to altitude and I’ll also stop at a friend’s place in Salida for a couple of days to acclimatise - easier than arriving in pueblo from sea level and with a lower level of fitness I suspect.

Edit loved the journals.
Edit again-looking inti coach for heathrow trip-it’s long but might solve the lugging bikes around hassle that I really don’t fancy with the train.

MrsHJ
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Re: US flights and bikes

Postby MrsHJ » 11 Jan 2019, 11:22pm

irc wrote:It's a pity you can't get another week out it. That would get you across Colorado and close to a major airport at Denver. It would also mean it was possible to do the cross USA in two trips rather than 3 if that was desirable.

Checking the mileages on my 2011 Washington to San Francisco tour I hit the Mississippi just north of Kansas City on Day 25 and 1400 miles.

At Day 35 , 5 weeks I was near Pueblo, south of Denver with 2074 miles in. That's half standard Transam. Though I was doing the shorter Western Express Route west of Colorado.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7907

I followed a similar route to you as far as Pittsburg but went north a bit to Indiana to see relatives after that.


Funnily enough I think that I may now be able to get the extra time......